Everyone deserves the chance to travel. Yet, all too often, seeing the world is a privilege reserved for the global elite. At Elevate Destinations, we bridge the divide. Our goal is to connect local youths to their own environments, as travelers, and as stewards.
Through our innovative Buy a Trip, Give a Trip model, your trip purchase creates fun new travel opportunities for local kids. For the first time, they experience nearby natural and cultural wonders. They see the sites, have fun, and make the kind of travel memories that we take for granted. Here’s just one example of Buy a Trip, Give a Trip in action:
The most-accomplished students from 22 primary schools in the Kuku Group Ranch area were rewarded for their outstanding performance in school this year. After receiving their 8th-grade final exam results, the teachers invited the selected students to attend the excursion.
Accompanied by staff from the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, these high achievers spent a day on safari exploring the famous Amboseli National Park in Kenya. The park is known for world-class wildlife viewing, especially for up-close encounters with the free-ranging herds of elephants. Visiting the park isn’t an activity these children affordably have access to, despite living in such proximity.
Supported by Elevate Destinations, both Claudia Ogoti and Peter Mantoo of MWCT organized the trip and were eager for the students to learn in a completely new environment.
Excitement and anticipation filled the air as the bus approached the grassy plains of Amboseli. These kids had been studying hard all year for this. They weren’t sure exactly what to expect from the day, though hoped to catch a glimpse of the elusive wildlife that roams throughout this rough terrain.
With all eyes glued to the landscape, the students managed to spot an array of animals, including ostriches, zebras, spotted hyenas, buffalos, hippos, and a large herd of elephants.
Following the safari, the students hiked to the Noomotio Lookout, the highest point in the park with a 360-degree view of their surroundings – including Mount Kilimanjaro. It was also the perfect opportunity for everyone to stretch their legs and unleash some of the energy generated during the morning’s adventures.
By now, the staff and students had worked up quite an appetite. A satisfying sitdown lunch was waiting for them at the Amboseli Serena Hotel. This was a dining experience not similar to any they’d had before. Touring through the Amboseli Serena property allowed the students to gain insight into the economic possibilities wildlife tourism can provide the Maasai people.
Full of optimism, enthusiasm, and motivation, the kids reflected on their day during the bus ride home, feeling privileged to have so much beauty in their area. They also left educated about the positive opportunities which come along with it.
The encounters majority of the Maasai people have with wildlife is a negative one. Wild animals are often seen as a threat because of the numerous incidents with livestock and damage to crops. Today the students learned about the significance of their natural assets and can appreciate them through a new perspective.
The Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, also known as MWCT, was created to protect the land, people and wildlife in East Africa, as both the natural resources and culture are facing long term threats. These community-based conservation efforts benefit the local Maasai communities, who are encouraged to be proud and active stewards of the Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem.
A big thank you to the Serena Properties for graciously accommodating all of the students with a delicious lunch.
Also, thank you Kenya Wildlife Service, specifically The Senior Warden at Amboseli Mr. Kenneth Naishu, for giving the students complimentary access for the trip.